Social media can be a vital piece of evidence to use when it comes to backing a personal injury claim in New York State. Photos and posts can quickly capture the essence of a person to help to demonstrate a pattern of neglect and reckless behaviors. It can also be helpful for highlighting the positive characteristics of a plaintiff to help define someone’s genuine nature.
Unfortunately, not all social media content is beneficial to a case. Activity on social media that directly pertains to an injury, accident, or other detail of your claim can tank a case almost immediately. Sometimes this online exposure of your legal proceedings can even result in further trouble, such as violations for breaching confidentiality agreements made.
With over 70% of Americans participating on at least one social media platform according to Pew Research Center, knowing the legal repercussions of sharing online content is crucial. Residents of New York City and Long Island who are considering filing a personal injury case, or are in the midst of an ongoing claim, must be aware of harmful social media activity that could make or break their chances of a successful resolution.
Social Media Is Public Record
First and foremost, it’s crucial for New Yorkers to understand that social media posted on any platform is public record, not private. Despite any privacy settings you enable on your accounts or who you restrict from viewing your page, any content posted online is accessible or can be subject to a public record request according to NYS law.
The false belief that social media is private has been the downfall of thousands of Americans when it comes to filing successful personal injury claims. Even messages sent through private DMs on social media platforms that are not immediately accessible to the public can be requested with a warrant if a case shows a need for further investigation.
How Social Media Can Hurt Your Case
Social media can negatively affect the success of your personal injury claim in several ways, regardless of how skilled your personal injury lawyer may be or how much evidence you possess to prove liability or negligence. The average American signs up for at least seven social media accounts, all of which have their own capability to ruin a case.
When someone posts content on a social media page, they typically publish with one intention in mind. Unfortunately, everyone interprets written information in a different capacity. This is where the trouble begins.
Statements made on social media, especially those pertaining directly to an injury or accident, can easily be plucked from online and twisted to spark doubt in a plaintiff’s claim. Even photos without content can be misinterpreted, spun as being vindictive, or untruthful depending on the case.
Clients who open up to social media about their ongoing case may make statements that conflict with others previously made. These statements can be particularly harmful when they are in writing as they can be quoted straight from your social platform, word by word, to easily show discrepancies in your case.
Consequences of Confidentially
If your case involves any confidential agreements, sharing details on social media can come with serious legal repercussions in addition to a failed change to seek compensation for damages sustained. Regardless of if the statements you are making are true, the agreement you made to keep details of the case private outweighs the amount of evidence you possess and could result in fines for breaking confidentiality.
Interference with Medical Reports
Posting photos and captions of your injuries online may give the defense a different version of your injury than what is in your actual medical report. These types of posts can make it seem as if an accident victim is doing better than what they are claiming. Consequently, it could be used to show a plaintiff is stretching the details of an injury to make an accident seem worse than it is. Both of these results may lead a judge to question the validity of an injury, even with a valid account of treatments and diagnoses from a medical professional.
Harmful Friends and Followers
Sadly, the friends and followers who interact with on social media can also negatively impact your case, despite whether you react to or initiate the content. Social media friends are known for providing “support” for their loved ones by publicly advocating when negligence has occurred. But even if you are not tagged in these posts, the existence of the material pertaining to your ongoing litigation can harm your chances of succeeding.
Locations & Geo-Tagging
Location and geo-tagging have become a popular feature on social media platforms that can be detrimental to the success of a case. Maybe you just pulled into a drive-thru for lunch, or your loved one stopped shortly for a coffee on the way to take you to your medical treatment. Either way, if you are tagged at a location that could be used to question the validity of your injury or current state of health, you can be assured that this information will be used to negatively impact your claim.
How To Play It Safe On Social Media
The best practice to use when it comes to social media during an ongoing social media case is to never post anything that pertains to your accidents, claim, the person or company you are filing against, or any other details that pertain to your case. This includes photos, statements, videos, memes, news articles, etc.
Additionally, keep all medical information private and ask your friends and loved ones to do the same. Review all of your social accounts and talk to your personal injury lawyer about the actions you should take to increase the chances of a successful claim.
New York City and Long Island Accident Attorneys
Our personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Siler & Ingber, have over 20 years of experience serving clients across New York City and Long Island. We protect your rights by maximizing recovery and securing the financial support our clients need to succeed on their road to recovery. Our winning attorneys know how to navigate through the claim process using past experience as insurance defense attorneys. We are not afraid to fight and are fully prepared to take your case to trial to get a justified verdict over settling for less.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another, our team at Siler & Ingber is here to help. With a 98% success rate, we have the experience and the know-how to help our clients achieve a favorable outcome. Contact us today at 1-877-LAW-4343 or schedule an appointment online anytime. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.